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Catholic Schools in New Orleans Integrate

Sept. 4, 1962 - Roman Catholic schools in New Orleans lowered racial barriers today for the first time in 67 years. The desegregation was peaceful. About 150 Negro children attended 30 previously all-white parochial schools in New Orleans and two neighboring parishes. White mothers picketed two New Orleans schools and the Archbishop’s residence to protest the desegregation today, and there was a brief scuffle at a school in suburban Westwego when a father tried to remove his child from school after a Negro had entered. These were the only disturbances. Uniformed and plainclothes policemen were stationed at more than 25 key schools in New Orleans. They kept all white adults away from schoolchildren in a firm effort to prevent a repetition of the turmoil that accompanied desegregation in the city in 1960. Negro children said they were quietly tolerated by their new white classmates. Some said they were largely ignored but that there had been no taunting or name-calling. Donald Soniat, 13, who entered the eighth grade at Mater Dolorosa School, said he was frightened as he walked to school this morning. “I was kind of nervous when I came in,” he said, “but I was all right when I came out. I think I’m going to like it. The other students didn’t say anything to me, but they seemed pretty friendly.”


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